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University shortlisted for three National Diversity Awards

Queen's University Belfast has been shortlisted in three categories in the 2019 Legal Island Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Gala & Awards 2019.

This annual event provides the opportunity for employers in Northern Ireland to celebrate equality and diversity in the workplace, and recognise those who advocate and drive diversity within their organisations.

This year the University has been shortlisted in the following categories:

  • Best LGBT initiative: Queen's University Belfast (PRISM LGBT+ Staff Network) – shortlisted alongside Pinsent Masons and Ulster Bank
  • Best Race Initiative: Queen's Students' Union (Black History Month) – shortlisted alongside Sensata Technologies
  • Individual Diversity Champion: Conor Curran – shortlisted alongside four other individuals

Launched in 2018, the success of PRISM was reflected in the largest attendance of Queen's staff (over 230) at last year's Belfast Pride Parade, and in the demand for over 600 rainbow coloured lanyards to allow staff to show their support for LGBT+ rights and colleagues on campus.

In addition, a number of staff training sessions on LGBT awareness were delivered by the University in partnership with the Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's largest LGBT organisation. In November, Queen's launched a new Diversity e-Learning resource for staff – 'Think Difference, Act Differently'. This new, interactive, multi-platform e-learning programme has been co-designed by University staff, representatives from PRISM and the team at Aurion Learning to help Queen's staff further develop their understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Conor Curran, Head of the Diversity and Inclusion Unit at Queen's has been shortlisted for the Individual Diversity Champion Award in recognition of his commitment to transforming diversity and inclusion across the University.

Commenting on the formal announcement of the shortlisting results, Brian Parkes, Director of People and Culture, said:

"Diversity and Inclusion goes beyond simply 'Equality', and I am delighted that Queen's has been shortlisted for three awards at the 2019 Legal Island Equality and Diversity Gala. These reflect the efforts in the LGBT space with PRISM, and the success of Black History Month.

"Helping Queen's be an even more inclusive and welcome environment for everyone is non-negotiable – it should be a natural part of University life.

"Having Conor shortlisted for the Individual Diversity Champion award is also a matter of personal pride for me and it is much deserved.

"Thank you and well done to all staff throughout the University who have embraced our commitment to a positive and inclusive culture, supporting and collaborating with us in the work which has led to this recognition by Legal Island."

The University has also been shortlisted in recognition of its Black History Month programme which was led by the Students' Union with support from staff and the African and Caribbean Society.

Events were hosted on campus to celebrate and promote the work of black students and staff at Queen's.

Also responding to the announcement, Caroline Young, Director of Student Plus, said:

"The Students' Union at Queen's has led the way in championing and highlighting Human Rights issues for many years, particularly around issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

"This programme was led by Hamsavani Rajeswaren, our Student Officer for Equality and Diversity in the Students' Union with support from staff and the African and Caribbean Society and reflects the manifesto pledges Hamsa made last year when she was voted into office, supporting students of colour at Queen's.

"I am absolutely delighted that we have been shortlisted in the Best Race Initiative Category in recognition of its Black History Month programme and want to congratulate Hamsa for her drive in bringing this initiative forward and thank all of those involved in the programme for making it such a success."

Last year, the University won a "highly commended" award for its work on Transgender awareness, while Professor Tom Millar won Individual Diversity Champion for the Education Sector.

The Legal Island Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Gala & Awards 2019 will take place on Friday 5 April 2019 in Titanic Belfast.

Photo: Members of PRISM with the Vice Chancellor, Ian Greer, at the official launch in the Naughton Gallery, November 2018.